Rep. Waters calls on Biden to reverse policies that let banks custody cryptocurrencies and stablecoin reserves

Congresswoman Maxine Waters has released a wide array of recommended policy changes and approaches to president-elect Joe Biden — a list that includes the rescinding of guidance from the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency focused on banks, cryptocurrencies and stablecoins. 

In September, the OCC said that federally chartered banks can hold reserve funds for fiat-backed stablecoins. At the time, the guidance was intended to give “greater regulatory certainty for banks within the federal banking system to provide those client services in a safe and sound manner,” according to acting comptroller Brian Brooks. In July, the agency allowed such banks to hold custody of cryptocurrencies on behalf of their clients. 

These two pieces of guidance have now fallen in the crosshairs of Waters, who recommended that the Biden administration “rescind” both of them.

Though the document does not outline the precise rationale behind those recommendations, the letter does strike a critical tone on the OCC’s activities and, in some sense, mirrors the more direct critique of Brooks’ crypto regulation approach issued by Congressional Democrats last month.

Waters’ letter also implicitly calls for “new leadership” at the OCC, though the phrase is used in connection with commentary related to climate change initiatives. 

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